Labour leader David Shearer has identified four main themes
for the party to develop in preparation for next year's
election and the reshuffle of his front bench yesterday
reflected those themes.
The four themes are jobs, health, education and housing.
Former health minister and deputy leader Annette King returns
to the front bench as the party's health spokesman, replacing
Maryan Street, who becomes environment spokeswoman and
remains on the front bench.
Ms Street made no headway against Health Minister Tony Ryall
and Mrs King will now be expected to put some dents in the
Government's health policy.
Deputy leader Grant Robertson has been giving the lead role
in making jobs a big issue for Labour as unemployment remains
high and job losses are announced each week. Phil Twyford
takes on the role of housing spokesman. Coming from Auckland,
Mr Twyford can be expected to make housing affordability a
big issue this year.
Chris Hipkins is rewarded for his grilling of Education
Minister Hekia Parata by taking over the education role from
Nanaia Mahuta, who takes over the responsibility for Maori
development. For Ms Mahuta, the change will be seen as a
demotion, for failing to come to grips with her education
Shane Jones will return to the front bench as regional
development and forestry spokesman, with an associate finance
role, if he is cleared in the Auditor-general's inquiry into
his 2008 decision to grant citizenship to Chinese businessman
William Yan, against the advice of officials.
Mr Shearer said his shadow cabinet included a mix of new
talent and experienced hands.
''They are raring to go and keen to get stuck into the issues
that matter most to Kiwis. My decisions today have been
driven by the need to appoint the best people to deliver
Labour's solutions for the critical challenges facing New
Dunedin North MP David Clark rises to No 12 in seniority,
taking over economic development and small business. He will
work with finance spokesman David Parker.
Other newcomers to the top 20 include Andrew Little, who
takes on justice, and Megan Woods who picks up tertiary
education and has roles in science and innovation and
Christchurch transport issues.
Sue Moroney returns to the top 20 with ACC and early
Labour hit man Trevor Mallard leaves the top 20, along with
Lianne Dalziel. Mr Mallard, the man who ran Labour's
unsuccessful 2011 election campaign, may now contemplate his
Ms Dalziel earlier ruled out standing for the Christchurch
mayoralty because she wanted a role in the next Labour-led
government on Christchurch issues - similar to the role
Canterbury Earthquake Minister Gerry Brownlee now has. She
may reconsider her options after yesterday's announcement.
Also remaining out of the top 20 is David Cunliffe who was
demoted for failing to rule out a leadership challenge
against Mr Shearer. Mr Cunliffe has one of the sharpest minds
in Labour and speculation will continue into what his role
will be before the election.
A comment on Twitter by Revenue Minister Peter Dunne was soon
retweeted. He wrote: ''Labour caucus reshuffle looks like the
Black Caps squad. No matter how the batting order is changed,
still unclear where the runs will come from.''
Labour's top 20
(1) David Shearer: leader, Security Intelligence
(2) Grant Robertson: deputy leader, employment, skills
and training, arts, culture and heritage.
(3) David Parker: finance, attorney-general.
(4) Jacinda Ardern: social development,
(5) Clayton Cosgrove: SOEs, commerce, trade
(6) Annette King: health.
(7) Shane Jones: regional development, forestry
(pending Auditor-general's report).
(8) Phil Twyford: housing, Auckland issues.
(9) Maryan Street: environment.
(10) Chris Hipkins: education.
(11) Nanaia Mahuta: youth affairs, Maori
(12) David Clark: economic development, small
(13) Sue Moroney: ACC, early childhood
(14) Su'a William Sio: local government, Pacific
(15) Phil Goff: foreign affairs and trade.
(16) Darien Fenton: labour, immigration.
(17) Damien O'Connor: primary industries.
(18) Clare Curran: communications and information
(19) Andrew Little: justice, tourism.
(20) Megan Woods: tertiary education.